Prolific novelist Hannah revisits the characters, known to fans as “KateandTully,” of her bestselling Firefly Lane in this slow-paced but largely well-executed sequel. Tully Hart, the famous 50-year-old former host of the talk show The Girlfriend, isn’t dealing well with the recent death of her best friend Kate, whose daughter, Marah, has run away. Tully is Marah’s godmother, and Kate’s husband Johnny blames her for his daughter’s flight. With no one left to turn to, Tully runs her car into a cement block in a haze of booze and prescription drugs. In the hospital clinging to life, Tully faces her past and her pain, visits her dead friend, and decides whether or not life is worth living. Told in a shopworn form—turns and flashbacks from the perspectives of Marah, Johnny, and Tully—the plot is unnecessarily repetitive, at times bringing forward motion to a standstill, but fans will appreciate the depth of character as they wade toward a neatly tied-up and heart-warming denouement. Agent: Andrea Cirillo, the Jane Rotrosen Agency. (May)
“Deep, complex characters populate this emotional novel, ideal for public library audiobook collections, and enhanced with a reading group guide read by the author” Wisconsin Book Watch
“Ericksen narrates in a soothing voice as several characters share their points of view of the story…The accents differentiate their voices without breaking the magic of Ericksen's narration.” AudioFile Magazine
Hannah's enthralling and touching sequel to Firefly Lane continues the tale of Tully and Kate's poignant friendship and the journey they still share even in death. Once Kate dies, her husband, Johnny, her daughter Marah, and her soul-sister Tully all fall apart as they struggle to deal with their loss and regret. Losing the only anchor she had, Tully counts on Johnny and the kids to help each other through this process, only to realize that she is shut out, leaving her to mourn alone. Tully quickly finds herself following in her mother's footsteps of addiction, ultimately ending up in a medically induced coma after an "accident." In this state Tully is guided and prodded by Kate to see where things have gone right, where they've gone wrong, and where they can be repaired with some healing and some forgiveness—especially if Tully is willing to face her own past and that of her mother, and not fly away with Kate. VERDICT A moving read about mothers and daughters, families, friends, second chances, love, heartbreak, faith, grieving, and healing. Tissues required.—Anne M. Miskewitch, Chicago P.L.
Hannah's sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it. When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate's death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully's long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate's spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny's anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton's liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah's depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully's every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter's bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud's largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters. Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah's storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.